Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Research vs Writer's Block



One of the most frustrating things for writers is a blank page and the lack of any "brilliant" ideas to fill it.  It's not that there aren't any glimmers of inspiration, but sometimes, the cup of "fresh, innovative and exciting ideas" does not runneth over.  There are so many YA books available it can feel like all the cool ideas have already been taken. 


There's good news and its name is Research!  There are weird and little known facts out there just begging to be made into novels.  Check out the Odd News reports on Yahoo.  Look at headlines and make up your own story to go with them.  You can even just Google things that interest you personally and all kinds of stuff comes up.  Let one link take you to another and another until you find something that sucks you in.  Just keep digging around until you find gold!


35 comments:

Kate Larkindale said...

I love this approach. My novel , The Boyfriend Plague, was sparked by a newspaper article and my new one, The Sidewalk's Regrets, came from one line in a documentary.

I'll take my inspiration where I can get it!

Lan said...

I do this all the time! It's not often on purpose but I'll be scrolling through a newspaper or the internet and suddenly I'll get an idea for a story. Just goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere!

ravenaguron said...

Google is a very good friend!

shelly said...

My dad does the research for me. He's great at it.

Hugs,
Shelly

Suze said...

'There are weird and little known facts out there just begging to be made into novels.'

EXCELLENT perspective, Lexa! I love it. Such things are ripe for not only inspiration but to stoke those embers into flame!

D.V. Sheppard said...

Hey that's an awesome idea! Thanks for spreading the love :)

Medeia Sharif said...

Fantastic ideas.

I've always been interested in strange news stories.

Cathy Keaton said...

Yeah, this is a great idea because you never know when you'll read about something that strikes your fancy.

Christine Rains said...

Awesome ideas! I like looking at folklore and less known myths, and using them as ideas when I'm lacking.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Great suggestions for where to find story ideas! Thanks for sharing.

mshatch said...

I feel fortunate in that I never lack for ideas. If all else fails I have a few finished stories that might pass the muster if I revised the hell out of them :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

Thanks for the great advice Lexa! Julie

Jimmy Fungus said...

This is some very good advice. Way back in the day, Shakespeare had to wait for some king to be visited by a ghost and then go insane, or for two young lovers to commit double suicide before he had something to write about. But whenever I sign on to the computer, there are 6 or 8 stories that tragic just on the welcome screen... so I pop a prozac and get to writing!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks for this, Lexa. I'm collaborating on a steampunk novel, so your post is timely. Have a great day.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I enjoy research. Sometime I get so involved in reading new stuff I forget to write the story. :)

DMS said...

Excellent advice! I really should start a file. Sometimes I come across things and think the news story would make a good book, but I don't keep the info. I like the idea of looking at odd stories to get inspired. :)
~Jess

tfwalsh said...

Ideas are pretty much all around us... it's about removing our blinkers are writers... that's something my hubby always tells me... To remove my blinkers. It's not always related to writing though, since I tend to walk around in my own little world.

Patsy said...

I think ideas are everywhere - the hard bit (for me) is deciding which will work. Starting with a few facts sounds a very good plan for giving the writer confidence in the growing idea.

marysuehobika said...

I was planning to explore this same topic on my blog tomorrow. I like your ideas for combating writers block. I often look at the newpaper and wonder if there's a story in it that I can spin into a novel.

Kelly Hashway said...

Great advice! I write a short story a week, and I can tell you that I exhaust ideas quickly that way. Research is a great solution to this.

Cherie Reich said...

That is a good idea to research to find new ideas. I do something similar with my flash fiction by finding prompts online and then running with the sentence or phrase.

Beth said...

I don't so much have a problem coming up with ideas as keeping my ideas from running wild.

Catherine Stine said...

Yes, I love to wander around on the Net and satisfy my curiosity. I've stumbled across lots of very cool and quirky potential plot points this way. Good reminder!

michelle said...

Wonderful idea, Lexa! The little golden nuggets are out there... just waiting to be discovered and transformed into a storyline...

Annalisa Crawford said...

I love using news stories as the basis for my stories. Great tip!

Jess said...

Great advice, Lexa! Thanks for the tip :)

Kelly Louise said...

I love weird facts, now I'll try to put them to good use. Thanks Lexa.

M. Christine Weber said...

SUCH great advice. You never know what will trigger those creative tangents! And I also find that Pinterest helps with this as well!

:0)

E. Arroyo said...

A great idea! Thanks.

Lauren said...

Or opal, or turqouise, or chrysocolla. Don't limit yourself to one kind of rock. :)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

You're so right. I always drag my feet when it comes to research, but once I start digging, the inspiration always comes.

Ciara said...

I LOVE research. It's so inspiring.

Lynda R Young said...

I also love research and I find by the time I've finished researching, I'm newly inspired. Often the story goes in a different direction than I'd expected when I first began researching too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why I research movies - so many good ideas there!
Yeah, probably not what you meant, but it works.

Sera Rivers said...

My current YA project has a lot of research that I need to do to write it. I make sure to find balance: spend some time on research, some time on writing. It's so important not to use research as an excuse not to write. But, I agree, research is so inspiring and often unblocks my creative blocks :)

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